Super strong beer and cider could be banned from retailers’ shelves under proposals being considered by the Government.

The Portman Group, an industry body promoting responsible drinking, is exploring several options which could be made part of the Licensing Act, Retail Express understands.

One suggestion is to ban the sale of cans with more than four units of alcohol and plastic bottles that contain more than 15 units. This would include 500ml cans of Carlsberg Special Brew, which has an ABV of 9%.

[pull_quote_center]There is no such thing as a problem product[/pull_quote_center]

Carlsberg UK corporate affairs director Bruce Ray told Retail Express: “The vast majority of people who enjoy higher strength drinks including some beers and ciders, wines and spirits, do so moderately and responsibly.

“There is no such thing as a problem product. Greater focus therefore needs to be placed on helping problem drinkers through interventions such as education, guidance and support.”

Aspall Cyder partner Henry Chevallier-Guild told Retail Express it would be impossible to enforce this type of legislation unless it were applied to all types of alcohol packaging.

“Whatever the rationale, and no one in the drinks industry is against targeted action that actually works, I just don’t see how this can be made to stick from a practical or legal perspective,” he said.

Off-licence owners said anything that reduced antisocial behaviour and binge drinking would be welcome.

Luton retailer Pravin Shah said: “It’s the minority that drink these drinks and they are the ones who cause the problems. The Government can either ban super strong drinks or tax them so they’re much more expensive.”

A spokesman for the Portman Group said it is in early stage discussions on a number of different options to reduce harmful consumption and details would be presented to Government in due course.

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